News Release

Stimulus and the “Destructive Center”


Nobel Prize-winning economist and columnist Paul Krugman writes today in a piece titled “The Destructive Center“: “What do you call someone who eliminates hundreds of thousands of American jobs, deprives millions of adequate health care and nutrition, undermines schools, but offers a $15,000 bonus to affluent people who flip their houses?

“A proud centrist. For that is what the senators who ended up calling the tune on the stimulus bill just accomplished.”

Senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, Collins said today: “This stimulus bill is part of the medicine the economy needs right now, especially aid to states. The centrist senators are blocking the pharmacy door.”

Collins is co-author of a new comic book, The Economic Meltdown Funnies. He also recently wrote the piece “The Audacity of CEO Greed,” syndicated by McClatchy.

Henwood is author of the book Wall Street and editor of Left Business Observer. He said today: “The trouble the stimulus program is facing is directly traceable to Obama’s strange and pointless fantasy of being post-partisan. There’s no way around conflict in politics — people have different interests and different worldviews, and there’s no way to finesse that. It’s especially odd when he’s trying to court a party as bullheaded as the Republicans, whose partisan strategy now looks to be to hope his administration fails so they can win in 2012. Most of their other ideas have proven antiquated and disastrous, but they seem willing to drive the economy into the ditch as their principal electoral strategy.

“But perhaps Obama’s fundamental problem is that he has no firm political philosophy, other than an empty pragmatism driven by his own ambition. Meanwhile, the leaks emerging about the rejiggering of the TARP make it look like the plan is to subsidize hedge funds to get them to buy toxic assets and then guarantee them against losses. This looks like a big gift to a group that wrote the Obama campaign big checks throughout 2007 and 2008 — could it be as cynical as payback? Because it’s hard to figure out what the public gets out of this arrangement.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167